As Doha Said, By Bahaa Taher

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The Independent Culture

Set in 1960s Egypt amid President's Nasser's nationalisations, and increased state power, this is an anguished love story told by an unnamed government employee who once dreamed of making it big in politics but whose ambitious have since melted away into a vague, cosmic lethargy.

He is jolted out of this existential ennui by his beautiful, but alas, married colleague, Doha. The story, first published in Arabic in 1999 and now translated by Peter Daniel, follows their brief but intense love affair, with recurring themes of fear and disillusionment which also marked the dark side of post-revolutionary Egypt.